« EelmineJätka »
[granted from time to time by the kings of England. We shall consider first the different heads of the ordinary revenue, and then pass to the extraordinary revenue, or revenue from taxation.
The ordinary revenue.
- I. The first head of the ordinary revenue is of an ecclesiastical kind, viz. the custody of the temporalities of bishoprics, by which are meant all the lay revenues which belong to the see of an archbishop or bishop. And these, on the vacancy of the bishoprie, are immediately the right of the king, as a consequence of his prerogative in church matters, whereby he is considered as the founder of all archbishoprics and bishoprics, the person to whom during the vacancy they revert. The Crown takes all the intermediate profits until the appointment of a successor, and that without account ; and before the dissolution of the abbeys, the Crown had also, on the death of the abbot or prior, the custody of the temporalities of all such abbeys and priories as were of royal foundation, with the like right to the intermediate profits. And this revenue was esteemed of so high a nature, that it could not, by the common law, have been granted out to a subject, before, or even after, it had accrued ; but by the 14 Edw. III. st. 4 (1340), cc. 4 and 5, the king might, after the vacancy, have leased the temporalities to the dean and chapter, saving to himself all adowsons, escheats, and the like. Our antient kings were remarkable for keeping the bishoprics a long time vacant(e); and they sometimes, for trifling causes or no cause at all, seized into their own hands the temporalities of bishops, even during their lives. But all such practices have been long discontinued, and as soon as the new bishop is consecrated and confirmed, he usually receives the temporalities entire and untouched from the Crown,
(e) An instance of this occurred as late as the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who kept the see of Ely vacant nineteen years, in order to retain the revenues. --Strype, vol. iv. 351.
[at the same time doing homage to the king ; and then, and not sooner, he has a fee simple in his bishopric, and may maintain an action for the profits (f). This head of the ordinary revenue has, therefore, now ceased to be a calculable item.
II. The next head of the ordinary revenue is also of an ecclesiastical kind, namely, the first fruits and tenths of all spiritual preferments in the kingdom (9). These were originally a part of the papal usurpations over the clergy of this kingdom, first introduced by Pandulph, the pope's legate, during the reigns of King John and Henry the Third, in the see of Norwich, and afterwards attempted to be made universal by the Popes Clement the Fifth and John the Twenty-second, about the beginning of the fourteenth century. The first fruits, (primitive or annates,) were the first year's whole profits of the spiritual preferment, according to a rate or valor made in the time of Pope Innocent the Fourth, by Walter, Bishop of Norwich, and afterwards advanced in value, by commission of Pope Nicholas the Fourth, under a taxation by the king's precept; which valuation (called that of Pope Nicholas) was begun in 1288, and finished in 1292, and is still preserved in the Exchequer (h). The tenths (or decima) were the tenth part of the annual profit of each living by the same valuation ; and this tenth part was also claimed by the Holy See, under the pretence of that precept of the Levitical law, which directs, that the Levites “ should [“ offer the tenth part of their tithes as a heave-offering “ to the Lord, and give it to Aaron the high priest” (i). But these pretensions of the pope met with a vigorous resistance from the English parliament; and a variety of Acts were passed to prevent and restrain them, particularly the 6 Hen. IV. (1104), c. 1, which calls the payment of first-fruits a horrible mischief and damnable custom. Nevertheless, the popish clergy, blindly devoted to the will of a foreign master, still kept the papal claims on foot ; and in the reign of Henry the Eighth, it was computed, that, in the compass of fifty years, 800,000 ducats had been sent to Rome for first-fruits alone. And, as the clergy expressed this willingness to contribute so much of their income to the head of the Church, it was thought proper, when in the same reign the papal power was abolished, and the king was declared the head of the Church of England, to annex this revenue to the Crown. This was accordingly done by the 26 Hen. VIII. (1534), c. 3, whereby it was enacted (ss. 9-11), that commissioners should be appointed in every diocese, to certify the value of every ecclesiastical benefice and preferment, and that according to this valuation the first-fruits and tenths should be collected and paid in future. This valuation of benefices, or Valor Beneficiorum, was accordingly made, and is what is commonly called the King's Books ; and the clergy are at present rated in accordance with it(j). But by the 1 Eliz. (1558), c. 4 (s. 5), all vicarages under ten pounds a year, and all rectories under ten marks, were discharged from the payment of first-fruits : and (s. 6) if, in such livings as continued chargeable with the payment, the incumbent lived but half a year, he was to pay only one quarter of his first-fruits ; if but one whole year, then half of them ; if a year and a half, three quarters ; and if two years, then the whole, and not
(5) Co. Litt. 67, 341.
nature of an incorporeal heredita(9) Blackstone notices (vol. i. ment ; secondly, the right of the p. 284), as two other branches of Crown to the tithes arising in extra the royal revenue, first, the right parochial places. But the former of the Crown to a corody out of he apprehends to be fallen into every bishopric, that is, the right total disuse ; and he doubts if to send one of the royal chaplains either of them is properly to be to be maintained by the bishop, considered as a part of the royal or to have a pension allowed him, evenue. till the bishop promotes him to a (h) 3 Inst. 154. benefice, which right is in the
(otherwise. By Queen Anne's Bounty Act, 1707 (ss. 5, 6), archbishops and bishops have four years allowed for the payment, and pay one quarter every year, if they live so long upon the bishopric ; but other dignitaries of the Church pay on the same principle as rectors and vicars. Also by the 27 Hen. VIII. (1536), c. 8, no tenths are to be paid for the first year, for then the first-fruits are due; and by certain statutes of Queen Anne (6 Anne, cc. 24 and 54) of the 1706 and 1707, if a benefice be under fifty pounds per annum clear yearly value, it is to be discharged of the payment both of first-fruits and of tenths. The piety of Queen Anne also restored to the Church what had been indirectly taken from it, not indeed by remitting the tenths and first-fruits entirely, but by applying the superfluities of the larger benefices to make up the deficiencies of the smaller ; to which end she granted her royal charter, confirmed by the 2 & 3 Anne (1703), c. 11, whereby all the revenue of first-fruits and tenths, under the name of Queen Anne's Bounty, is vested in trustees for ever, to form a perpetual fund for the augmentation of poor livings (k).
III. The next branch of the king's ordinary revenue (which, as well as the subsequent branches, is of a lay or temporal nature,) consists in the rents and profits of the demesne lands of the Crown. These demesne lands, terre dominicales regis, being either the share reserved to the Crown on the original distribution of landed property, or
(k) The Acts relating to Queen Anne's Bounty are, besides those referred to in the text, the following, namely : Queen Anne's Bounty Acts, 1714, 1716, 1803, and 1805, s. 4: Augmentation of Benefices Act, 1831 ; Queen Anne's Bounty Act, 1838 ; Parsonages Act, 1838, ss. 3, 4; Pluralities Act, 1838, ss. 72, 119; Church Building Acts, 1838, s. 10, and
Queen Anne's Bounty
Act, 1840 ; Ecclesiastical Commissioners Acts, 1840, S. 76, and 1811, s. 4; New Parishes Act, 1843 ; Augmentation of Benefices Act, 1854; 23 & 24 Vict. c. 59, s. 7 ; Parsonages Act, 1865 ; Queen Anne's Bounty (Superannuation) Act, 1870; Incumbents of Benefices Loans Extension Act, 1881 ; and Incumbents of Benefices Loans Extension Act, 1896.
(such as came to it afterwards by forfeitures or other means, were antiently very large and extensive, comprising divers manors, honours, and lordships, the tenants of which had very peculiar privileges, as has been shown in a former book of these Commentaries, when we spoke of the tenure in antient desmesne (1). At present they are contracted within a very narrow compass, having been almost entirely granted away to private subjects. This has occasioned the parliament frequently to interpose ; and particularly, after King William the Third had greatly impoverished the Crown, an Act was passed, by the effect of which, and of subsequent statutes on the same subject, all grants or leases from the Crown of any royal manors, messuages, lands, tenements, rents, tithes, woods, or other hereditaments for any longer term than thirty-one years, are, in general, declared to be void (m), and no reversionary lease can be made, so as to exceed, together with the estate in being, the same term of thirty-one years. Every tenant is, moreover, to be made liable for committing waste ; and the usual rent must be reserved, or, where there has usually been no rent, then one-third of the clear yearly value.] In modern times, the care and superintendence of the royal demesnes have been vested in the Commissioners of Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues, a Board of Commissioners which has been separately constituted by the Crown Lands Act, 1851, s. 1 (n).
(1) Vide sup. vol. I. pp. 128, 129.
(m) Crown Lands Acts, 1702, 1823, 1829, 1866, 1873, 1885, 1894 ; Pleading Act, 1711; Crown Private Estate Act, 1800 ; Pensions Act, 1838, s. 4.
(n) The board of " Commis“sioners of Woods, Forests, Land ““ Revenues, Works and Build“ ings," was then divided into two
boards, the one mentioned in the text, and the other being the “ Commissioners of Works and “ Public Buildings." To this latter board there used to belong (inter alia) the management of the royal parks in and near London (see Crown Lands Act, 1851, s. 21 : Parks Regulation Act, 1872 ; Bailey v. Williamson (1873), L. R. 8 Q. B. 118). But (by the London